Day 4 – Last day in LA

It’s our last full day in LA and we’re not staying another night in our Airbnb since Emily and Kevin are flying out around 7ish. We didn’t want to get charged another night for 5 people when it was just 3 of us. Our original plan was to stay at our friend’s spot before we fly out at 8am the next day, but we decided to just stay at a hotel near LAX (for comfort reasons).

Our morning consisted of cleaning up and packing. I’m going to miss the views from this Airbnb.

I’m going to miss waking up to this view.

The view as the sun is setting.

The view after the sunset.

Even the buildings next to us are photogenic.

One of my friends wanted to get something from the dispensary, so we all took a trip to one with a license. Visiting one is definitely an experience – there was a lobby with an armed guard and a window where thy checked our ID. After we were vetted, there was an entrance with two doors we had to get through (one door had to be closed and locked before the next door could be opened). Once we got to the actual room where they sold products, it was very much like a pharmacy. I enjoyed window shopping since I had no idea that they basically sold marijuana in almost every form possible – from edibles (chips, gummies, mints, brownies cookies, etc.) to lotion. Of course, pictures weren’t allowed and there was an armed guard that would enforce that rule.

Our last breakfast/lunch was at Blu Jam Cafe, a popular brunch spot known for their French Toast.

I got the Eggwich and we got the French Toast to share.

We all enjoyed our food, it was delicious. If this was in NY, it would definitely be one of the brunch spots that I would often go to. What makes the French Toast great, is the crunchy texture from the cornflakes.

After brunch, we had to take advantage of the beautiful weather on our last day. We took a Lyft to Venice Beach. I had to show everyone my favorite spot before the actual beach which was Venice Canals. I LOVE how walking around the Canals felt like you were in some special exclusive part of the world. Oh how I wished I lived here or at least had the chance the stay in one of these homes.

I love this view of Venice Canals.

Can’t keep myself from drooling over these homes.

Ugh these houses would not be possible NYC.

Next up, Venice beach but we didn’t go actually do anything beach’in since the weather was a bit to nippy for that.

Venice beach vibes.

We took a long stroll on the boardwalk, stopping by a skating park watching skaters do tricks and a couple of view points. Our plan was to walk all the way to Santa Monica pier, but we didn’t have time for that since two of us had to catch a flight soon. We ended up getting drinks and bar food at The Brixton on the corner of where Brandy lives before chilling at his place as he drives Emily and Kevin to the airport.

We got to meet his roommate as he was hanging out in the living room with his dog. After a couple of hours, we all got pretty exhausted and we didn’t think it was the best idea to just crash at his place. We wanted to shower and feel refreshed for our early flight, which led us to staying at Holiday Inn near the airport.

I feel like every time I come back to visit LA, it starts growing on me. Originally the first time I came to LA, I hated it. Maybe it was a mixture of the company I was with and the situation (our flight got delayed a day because of a snowstorm in NY). The second time I went to LA was two years ago, and that was a road trip from San Fran to LA with great company. We also drove down the Big Sur. This trip was with some of my closest friends since High School. To my surprised, as a group we haven’t done much traveling together. The last two trips was to Disney World (~7 years ago?) and a cruise to the Caribbean (~5 years ago?). Hate to say it, I think I’m starting to like LA and I will miss it.

Day 3 – Disneyland LA

After a long night, we woke up to a gloomy day. Unfortunately, we just happened to be in LA for this rare occasion since it only rains a few times every year. We lounged around our Airbnb and watched Cutthroat Kitchen until noon, hoping that it would stop raining but it didn’t. We weren’t going to waste a day so we drove out to Anaheim, praying that it would stop raining when we get to Disney.

We made a pit stop at Downey to eat lunch at Porto’s Bakery – basically a Cuban version of Panera Bread.

Lining up to order.

The only picture of what I ordered. Pulled pork sandwich with fried plantains. I also got the spicy cheese and peppers potato ball.

I wish they had a Porto’s in NY – everything was so goooooood. It’s pretty cheap for the portions you get too.

From Downey to Disneyland it took only 20 minutes and we got lucky because the rain finally stopped!

We made it to Disney!

It was around 2pm and we definitely didn’t have time to explore the whole park. We did get to go on most of the rides we wanted to, so overall it was a successful day.

The rides we went on (in order):

  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Star Tours
  • Space Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters x2
  • Rocket Jets
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds

This was in the Adventure land section I believe. Right next to the Pirates ride.

King Arthur Carrousel

Oh, we also did a lot of pin trading and looking around stores to find rare ones.

After the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, it started pouring again. It sucked but it cleared out the line for the famous Dole soft serve.

Bad picture of the Dole soft serve.

We got lucky with timing twice. The first time was an indoor Tiki Magic Show that was about to start right after we got our pineapple soft serve. We got to enjoy our soft serve dry and listened to fake birds and plants sing.

The second time was getting early dinner at the Golden Horseshoe. We couldn’t get dinner elsewhere since all the good spots needed a reservation a day in advance.. so we had to eat at a fast food styled restaurant. After we got out food, there was a performance on stage!

We were really hoping to catch the Disney Fireworks but they weren’t doing it because of renovations on Main Street. HUGE disappointment, since that is the ideal way to end a day in Disney. Probably the first time I been to Disney without actually seeing it. Instead, we watched the Fantasmic water show, which was better than nothing.

There were fireworks after the show but it wasn’t as good.

Another pic of the fireworks.

We went on two more rides after and since a couple of us were exhausted, we decided to head home. I wish we went earlier or stayed a bit later since there were so much more to explore. Overall, I didn’t get the same feeling of the magical experience I would get in Disney World. Maybe because of the rain and the fact that there were no fireworks. Probably because it was a short day and usually I would spend at least 3 days in Disney (a day for each park).

Thank the lord, that the drive back to La Brea was smooth because I was exhausted and it was a struggle to keep my eyes open. We stopped by Leo’s Taco Truck for their famous Al Pastor Tacos and it was no doubt the best tacos I ever had. Their chorizo taco was no match for Guisados though.

Al Pastor taco

After our first order, we decided to get 10 more cause it was that good.

Once we got back to the Airbnb, everyone passed out from exhaustion. I literally passed out the moment my head hit the pillow. It was a productive day despite the rain.

Day 2 – LA

We all ended up waking up super early despite sleeping so late. It’s probably because our internal clocks were so used to EST time.We started off our day with breakfast at The Hart and The Hunter on Melrose near West Hollywood. I kind of wish I took my camera with me because I loved how photogenic the restaurant was – the decor, furniture and even the silverware.

Mushroom toast with soft scrambled eggs, creme fraiche, herbs and seeded bread.

I got the mushroom toast which was equally visually appealing as it was tasty. Definitely made it one of my favorite spots in LA for breakfast. (WARNING: I’m probably going use the word ‘favorite’ a lot in this post, just because of our activities this day.)

After breakfast, we drove to Runyon Canyon for a hike. Hiking Runyon Canyon is on my list of things that you HAVE to do if you’re in LA. It’s one of my favorite hikes and I’m jealous of how accessible this hike is compared to what we have in NY. (There’s no hiking trail that can beat Runyon Canyon within 20 minutes from NYC.)

Hiking the East trail.

We were surprised to find so many people hiking on a Thursday morning. It seems like everyone was just taking advantage of a beautiful day. Most are probably local since they were either running up or walking their dogs. Pretty much my ideal lifestyle if I lived in LA.

The first scenic spot of the hike.

The view of the Hollywood sign from Runyon Canyon.

I’m glad we got to hike Runyon since it was closed the last time I was in LA. Nothing better than a good hike with amazing views and beautiful weather.

Griffith Observatory was next on the list, but we decided to grab a quick lunch around the area first. We stopped by to check out Stamp Proper Foods and Little Dom’s first but ended up at Alcove. We sat outside and soaked up the beautiful LA weather.

I got a granola bowl and fries to share.

We got lucky getting to Griffith Observatory at what it seems to be off peak hours. There wasn’t much of a crowd so we were able to through the exhibits and take in the view at the top pretty quickly.

On the terrace of the Griffith Observatory

We were all pretty beat from hiking and exploring so before heading back to our Airbnb for a rest, we stopped by California Donuts for a dozen donuts and Trader Joe’s for a case of water and snacks.

So many options at California Donuts

The donuts we chose.

I had to get an unicorn donut.

California Donuts > Dough, that’s all I have to say. (I could be biased since I had enough of Dough donuts since vendors always bring them in at work!!!)

Back at the Airbnb, we ended up taking a 2 hour break before we headed out for dinner. Can’t come to LA without getting tacos. What better spot than Guisados in Downtown LA?

Kevin got the sampler which were 6 mini tacos.

I got the chicharron, chorizo and steak.

Guisados tacos are amazing, we’re probably going to come back here again. Tip for everyone who loves spicy food, ask for their spicy sauce and you won’t regret it!! (Unless you can’t handle it…)

Time to give LA nightlife another try, this time instead of a club, we went to Clifton’s Republic. I heard of it on VICE as they had an episode about Clifton’s being one of the oldest cafeterias, but I didn’t know it was a bar/speakeasy sort of deal. They had a rock burlesque sort of show go on when we were there, so that was interesting. The overall venue was amazing with multiple floors and taxidermy in display cases. It was very old school bourgeois type of place.

A giant redwood tree in the middle.

The coolest part about this place, is that there is a speakeasy aspect, where you get a coin like this one in the front desk.

Special coin

There’s a mirror on the second floor that you can push in as it’s a secret door and t leads to a secret flight of stairs where you drop the coin and head up to a hidden floor of Clifton’s. IT WAS BY FAR THE COOLEST THING EVER when we got up. There was some tropical themed party with a DJ on a boat.

DJ on a boat

Good drinks, good vibes and good company made it into a great night even though we were all tired AF. Our Lyft ride back was an adventure itself, wrapping up our day 2 in LA.

Day 1 – NY to LA

“Hopped off a plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan…” – pretty much the best song to listen to as you get off the plane at LAX.

First thing I did after getting off the plane was walk to In-N-Out from the airport to meet Emily and Kevin. Probably not the best idea as it was a 25 minute walk with my carry on but it was a great way to stretch my legs after a long flight.

Even though I’m not a HUGE fan of In-N-Out, it’s a tradition for me to have it at least once whenever I’m in California. Nothing better than a double cheese burger after a 6 hour flight.

Double cheese burger and animal style fries.

Afterwards we took a Lyft to our AirBnb to drop off our stuff and took a quick stroll around the neighborhood. We’re staying in convenient spot since The Grove is within walking distance and there’s a Trader Joe’s nearby.

Since we had to wait for Gavin to Christine and land, we did some grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. We didn’t do much exploring around West 3rd since it most shops were closing but we’ll be back! (I’ll save the pictures until then.)

Brandy picked them up at the airport when they landed and we went to eat dinner at Song Nong Dan at KTown.

Galbi Jjim – braised short ribs

We got their popular dish the Galbi Jjim and it was freaking amazing. Definitely recommend this spot if you’re into authentic Korean food.

What was crazy is that we ended up seeing this group of Twitch streamers from OfflineTV eating there as we were leaving. What a crazy coincidence, since I was just talking about how crazy it would be if we ran into them in LA. I was too star struck to say hello and I didn’t want to be rude since they were eating.

It was a little past midnight after we got back from dinner and we were going sleep early to get ready for an early day of activities, but we all know that never happens.